Working Groups - Framework, Description and Outcomes

Working Groups

Working Groups - Framework, Description and Outcomes

Framework:

Groups were composed of actors in both the climate and food communities and engaged on two critical aspects of working together:

a) Potential conflicts in the energy/climate and food/agriculture advocacy that must be overcome for greater CSO effectiveness and

b) On potential synergies and common challenges that both CSO communities can successfully address for effective collective strategies.
 

Guiding Questions for the Working Groups: 

1) How can potentially conflicting issues and strategies between the energy/climate and food/agriculture communities find common ground? 

2) What are strategies to overcome, or constructively deal with these conflicts, e.g. through identifying diverse roles?

3) How can civil society actors create innovative alliances and better collaborate and address common challenges and capitalize on synergies?

4) Which strategies can be developed in order to create impact and change?


Please find the WORKING GROUP OUTCOMES for download below


Working groups:

 >>Detailed description via link

A) The Climate and Food Crises: What needs to happen to address adaptation and mitigation?

B) What role for biomass in food and energy:  Moving from silo thinking to systemic thinking?

 
C) Unsustainable subsidies in Energy and Food:  What are the main drivers and how can we create a shift? 

D) Common Movement towards Climate Policy Transformation: Can there be a China - India - EU Alliance?  What role can China and South Africa play?

E) Agriculture at a Crossroad - How to translate IAASTD-Report conclusions into reality?

F) Energy Transition "Energiewende" as important step of the Great Transition

G) How to Democratize Production:  Energy and Agricultural Cooperatives

H) Power Politics: Breaking down Corporate Power and Market Concentration in food and Energy

I) Planetary Boundaries and the consumption challenge:  Transform Demand in global consumption patterns

J) Open Slot

 

Detailed description of the working groups:

 

A) The Climate and Food Crises: What needs to happen to address adaptation and mitigation?

The lack of international action on climate change is leading the world towards a warming of up to 3-5 degrees or even more.  Such warming will literally devastate food production in many regions, even as the impacts of climate change are being felt by food producers today.  At the same time, agriculture is said to contribute up to a third of total greenhouse gas emissions (including land-use change and forestry). Governments and policymakers have thus far failed to address a genuine shift away from industrial agriculture practices towards promoting low carbon, low-input, organic and other eco-agricultural practices referred to as “agroecology” or “solar” agriculture. 
What strategies can help us create this paradigm shift that supports the right to food, effectively addresses our ecological challenges (e.g. soil, water, biodiversity) and prioritizes and empowers small scale food producers to adapt to climate change?

B) What role for biomass in food and energy:  Moving from silo thinking to systemic thinking?

The legendary conflict of fuel versus food has for some time pit environmental advocates against food security advocates. It is now widely accepted that first generation agrofuels are not a meaningful solution to climate change and at the same time have led to the violation of the right to food in terms of high and volatile agriculture prices (soy, corn) and land grabbing as land-based investments shifted to agrofuel production and away from food production.
Still, the question remains: what is an appropriate role of biomass in a future that must only rely on renewable resources?  Can it be considered a renewable energy source?  Should it play a role beyond serving livestock and humans for feed and fodder?  Are there ways to use biomass in a way that supports food security, e.g. small or large scale biogas - not in competition with food production, but delivering bio fertilizers? What are appropriate CSO strategies to reform policies in countries that have biofuel mandates such as the US and EU?

C) Unsustainable subsidies in Energy and Food:  What are the main drivers and how can we create a shift? 

In a globalized world characterized by recession, financial deregulation and speculative forms of investment, sustainable finance for climate and food security is becoming more and more challenging. In agriculture and in energy, billions of dollars are spent on unsustainable subsidies that support a fossil-fuel dependent form of production—from strengthening old and inefficient energy infrastructure, to supporting big TNCs and bringing down farmgate prices and reducing the amount of money available for green investments and production processes. Perverse incentives and subsidy systems must be addressed in order to shift investments towards effective climate mitigation in all sectors and towards adaptation efforts that support agriculture reform that empowers small-scale food producers.  The fossil energy, transnational agribusiness and agro-chemical corperations are a major lobby force to prevent such a shift.
What are strategies - from the grass root movement to G20 acitivities – that can move us towards a reform of these subsidies and other incentive systems that favor large corporations?

D) Common Movement towards Climate Policy Transformation: Can there be a China - India - EU Alliance?  What role can China and South Africa play?

After the failure of the “Big Bang” in Copenhagen the UNFCCC negotiations was to a certain degree revitalized in Durban.  But:  It is most likely that the US is not able or willing to act on international level during this decade. Real progress can only be expected if the EU reaches out to new cooperation partners. A trilateral alliance of the EU, China and India promises to move climate action and access to affordable and sustainable energy forward jointly.
What roles can civil society play to build a China-India-EU alliance to push for an ambitious outcome of the UN climate talks in 2015? Can this alliance promote Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) on energy access? Which are other areas of trilateral cooperation?

E) Agriculture at a Crossroad - How to translate IAASTD-Report conclusions into reality?

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), endorsed by 55 governments and over 400 scientists, unequivocally challenged the current agricultural paradigm of industrial agriculture and developed a roadmap for change. But its implementation and effects have been limited.
How can the IAASTD proposals be translated into reality?  How can the mandates given by the Rio conference 2012 for the Commission on World Food Security (CFS) (Art 115): "in facilitating country-initiated assessments on sustainable food production and food security" be used in a strategy for real achievements towards agroecology? How can CSOs from both the food and energy sectors come together to support the goals of IAASTD in a way that transforms both sectors?

F) Energy Transition "Energiewende" as important step of the Great Transition

The German "Energiewende" is the biggest transformation experiment in an industrial country, it is the goal to move from an fossil and nuclear based energy system to a renewable energy system and remain an industrialised country. The concept of low carbon development often lacks credibility because of the lack of real-life examples. Yet, there is a lot one can learn from the German example though its success is yet  to be proven.
To prevent dangerous climate change, there is an urgent need to establish frontrunners into a kind of energy-transition-club. What countries can and should be part of such a club? What examples already demonstrate a shift towards renewable energies in a socially just manner? What civil society strategies are needed to create energy transitions into more countries? The diversity of the challenge can be a good opportunity to bring diversity of civil society into full colour. Which strategies will lead us there?

G) How to Democratize Production:  Energy and Agricultural Cooperatives

In addition to tackling market concentration, forms of “commons”-based production needs to be strengthened for the Great Transformation. In the energy and agriculture fiels, very effective cooperative forms of production have been achieved. Small-scale farming cooperatives have been successful in servicing both the local and the global market, while citizen-led solar or wind cooperatives offer ecological and socially sustainable electricity to communities, as well as to the market.
What are common impediments in moving these types of “social production modes” forward? How can we gain policy support for their establishment for the long term?  What concrete strategies can civil society organizations effectively deploy to incentivize citizens to become “prosumers” (bring production and consumption closer together)?

>> Download: Presentation | Democratizing Food and Energy Production

H) Power Politics: Breaking down Corporate Power and Market Concentration in food and Energy

The Right to Food and universal access to clean energy are key principles in creating transformative public policies in these sectors.  Yet, global corporations play a defining role in shaping and driving agriculture and energy policies and practices.  How can we effectively address corporate power in the agriculture and energy sectors?
What are common challenges in the agriculture and energy markets? What successful methods can we use (in campaigns and policy advocacy) to address market concentration? How can an innovative, eg. commons-based forms of production – replace an oligopolistic market structure?  And how can we address the “scaling up” of good alternatives without creating social and ecological problems associated with “economies of scale.”

I) Planetary Boundaries and the consumption challenge:  Transform Demand in global consumption patterns

Both the energy and agriculture discussions at the internatonal level fail to address unsustainable consumption patterns and demand especially in wealthy countries.  Concerns regarding marketing, distribution channels, wastage, efficiency and consumption habits are critical issues that must be addressed if the transformation is to take place in a context of planetary boundaries. High levels of meat consumption and energy use characterize a wasteful, excessive consumption lifestyle, thus posing a major challenge to climate and agriculture concerns simultaneously. Per capita energy use of industrialized countries far outstrips those counterparts in developing countries, though this “overconsuming” lifestyle of the West is now the model of wealth and prosperity everywhere. 
What strategies can we create to effectively and equitably address consumption patterns, marketing and distribution channels and value-systems that prioritize overconsumption and waste?

J) Open Slot